Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Got it

They're few and far between, but these grins do exist -

Though he doesn't think much of the black box.

(Will someone explain to me why these are posting sideways?)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

So I've had a couple emails

asking me what kind of service keeps me so busy. I don't have extraordinarily unusual ideas - most of it is ho-hum. But I feel honor bound to elucidate further.
  • We make a lot of meals. We make a LOT of meals. Also cookies and bread. I never make one loaf - I always make one (or three) extra, and we make a night of it, delivering freshly baked bread. My kids love it. And cookies. When I make a batch, I only keep a dozen or so - the rest is for giveaways.
  • I like asking pregnant women what they're craving lately - then pick it up for them at the grocery store. (One friend of mine is really into Pop-tarts. Another is diggin' Oreos and Granny Smith apples.) Such a simple way to make someone's day.
  • I watch kids a lot, too. I usually volunteer - before anyone asks, I mean. (i.e. "Hey, ladyfriend, can I take your kids on Thursday morning?") The answer is usually yes.
Service is so easy once you get into the habit. This past Saturday was Little Prince's "Spring Fling" at school. We came, we played, we left. And on the way out we noticed that the lady running the balloon stall was completely swamped and looking harried. So I offered to tie the strings while she blew them up. Took me a mere twenty minutes to ease someone's load.

Some things that other people have done for me - service that I loved!
  • Take someone your baby's hand-me downs.
  • Lend out your maternity clothes during a friend's last two months. By then she'll be sick of her own clothes and grateful for something new in her closet!
  • If you know that a friend's baby is colicky at a certain time, show up at the door and give her arms a break for an hour.
I think the key is that - most of the time - you really have to perceive somebody's need. Most of us (myself included) don't like asking for help. Rather than ask weakly, "is there anything I can do?" - DO IT!

Of all the (little) service projects I do, though, my favorite by far is sending thank-yous. At first it was hard. It was hard to look for people doing service that I was grateful for - and now I find it everywhere.

I have sent thank-yous to the chorister at church for crying during a song and making me better appreciate the words to a hymn. To an activity chairperson for being so dependable and creative. To our baby-sitter for taking care of our kids so well. To the mom of my son's friend for raising such a great kid. To my visiting teacher for visiting me three months in a row. To an elderly woman at church who paid me a wonderful compliment that made my day. To a woman who is so well thought of that whenever I have a conversation about compassion, her name comes up - I had to let her know.

You get the idea.

And I'll tell ya - I've learned something. I've learned that regardless of age, race, financial circumstances or number of children - we all need something.

A friend.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

In which I complain a lot

All these clothes ....

and I have nothing to wear.

It's been not quite six weeks BLAH BLAH BLAH, but the fact is, postpartum weight loss is a stressor. Don't gimme that "chill out, it hasn't been that long" crap. I have two pairs of pants that fit.

I've made a decision.
Weight loss is totally backwards. You should shed pounds based on what you don't eat - not what you do.

For example. You wanted a brownie, but refrained? Good job. That's half a pound lost. You held back from second helpings at dinner? That's worth at least one. You only had one scoop of ice cream, instead of polishing off the carton? Five, easy.

Whenever we resist temptation, I really wish the weight you would have gained would be lost instead. If only, if only.

(Why is it so dang S-L-O-W?)

You know, I told myself that since it takes nine months to gain, I'll "give it" nine months to lose. Unfortunately, I never listen to myself. Cuz the truth is, I secretly expected my chunks to waste away easily and overnight. I didn't even realize that I had this expectation until I was disappointed with losing only one pound last week.

Twenty-seven down ... twenty-nine to go .... (why did I gain so much this time?!)

Truth be told, I feel good. I even feel like I look pretty good. Being a fairly delusional person helps in this area. But this No Clothes Situation is really starting to get to me.

... But hey. I have a beautiful baby.

And he's worth every pound.

(Now that's love.)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Why you should totally move to my town

So I like to DO things.

That's when I feel like we're really a really real family - when we're out together, havin' fun. Cuz apparently we're not a real family when we're sitting around the living room, staring at one another. Or something.

So most Saturdays we rush through the chores - dusting, mowing the lawn, scrubbing bathrooms and vacuuming when Mr. Squishy is out of the house - getting it done as fast as we can so we can go OUT.

"Family Dates," we call 'em. Pure awesomeness.

So this past Saturday's Family Date was to my town's Global Festival. Absolutely free. More pure awesomeness.

First, there was a parade.

Little Prince now wants to take bagpipe lessons.

I've always wanted to twirl in one of these dresses. They are made for twirling.

VIVA BRASIL!!!! Of course this guy was the most animado of the parade. There is no translation for animado. If you don't speak Portuguese, I feel sorry for you and your frustration that I'm not going to explain what animado means.

.... Nope, still not going to explain.

We even got a Chinese dragon. He scared the beejeevers out of all the kids.

The Natural Born Citizen missed out, man. He and all his chins.

Then we ate hot dogs and drank orange pop. Sunshine was in heaven.

On to the Home Depot tent! Because, ya know, Home Depot totally belongs at an international festival. Especially when they had free crafts that you can BUILD WITH A HAMMER AND NAILS. Plus awesomecool Builder Man Aprons. I have boys. We liked that tent.

Aaaaaaand the NBC slept some more.

We watched some dances and sat next to some cute little Indian girls.

I always wanted to be Indian.

We giggled over the fact that Mr. Squishy's pants kept falling down.

And then my worst fear came true. Someone recognized me from my blog.

Turns out that it was totally fun, and I can't remember why I always dreaded it. Sharon was superawesomefun and even let me take a picture of this totally surreal moment. Kisses, lady! Now you can't hide as a lurker any longer. Hopefully I didn't say anything embarrassing. It was all rather a blur.

Our Family Date was deemed a success, and topped it off with milkshakes on the way home. Even the NBC got one. I did a little shimmy before nursing him.

Family Dates? Best thing ever.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

In recompense

So, InkMom left a comment on my last post about self-deprecation. She said:
I have this theory (based on observation of other blogs, not only my own) that if you want to get a lot of comments, you have to make sure what you're writing doesn't make it seem like your life is too much better than anyone else's. (The exception to this rule is supremely happy news, like having a baby, which draws comments the best of all.) ...

And it's also a reflection of how hard we are on ourselves that we can't just own it when we do something great. But all of these little idiosyncrasies are what make us identify with each other, and solidify kinship and love. It's authenticity, in it's own way -- even if the reality is that you look completely fabulous for having a baby so young.
Her comment plunged me into at least ten minutes of reflection, and I've decided to dedicate this 'ere post to some major bragging. Oh wait - I mean authenticity. Plus, it'll be good to have this post to look back on when I need a self-esteem boost.

Okay. Here we go. Things I'm good at:


I'm a genuinely happy person. I like to smile, and I do it a lot. I try hard to make others happy, too. I think I'm pretty good at it.

I'm good at GOING in the morning. I wake up, exercise, read my scriptures, and take a shower. I am dressed, mascara-ed, and earringed by 7:30. Ish. (The earrings are a special effort I'm trying out lately ....)

I have a fairly clean house. My floors, especially - they glow.

My Man and I have a fantastic marriage. Too sweet and perfect to talk about here.

My will power is enviable. I don't set goals lightly - because when I decide to do something, I do it without fail. (Although this superpower of mine does not extend to food.)

I make beautiful quilts.

I cook real darn good. Always from scratch. I'm good at inventing and experimenting and knowing what went wrong and how to fix it. I'm especially good at coming up with fantastic meals at 5:00.

I make my bed every day.

Service has become a habit. This characteristic has been developed just this past year - and I love it. I'm especially good at writing notes to people. What started out as a goal to write two a month has become too easy. I usually end up sending out three to four a week. Today I sent out seven.

Those notes are genuine. I try hard never to say anything trite, but make each note heartfelt and thoughtful.

I do the dishes right away. Every meal.

I spell good and read good. I don't know if I've reached Word Nerd status level, but my vocabulary is slightly ridiculous.

We have Family Home Evening every week.

We have our year's supply of food storage.

My house is beautiful. It's a joke in my ward that my house looks like the Pottery Barn with an international twist. I'd show you pictures, but photography is not part of this list.

I can be pretty darn funny sometimes.

I'm a good mom. I am.


You know what - that was hard. REALLY hard. Hard not to qualify or joke or shrug something off. And equally difficult not to follow up with a list of what I'm bad at. (Which would be twice as long.)

Hmmm ... once again the sarcastic belittling of myself. Old habits die hard.

SO. I'm intensely interested to hear what YOU are good at. Any brave souls want to do a post of their own? It's therapeutic, I tell you. I'm feeling amazingly good right now.

I think I'll go hug myself or something.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Couch Session

I have a problem. It occurs when I'm in a room full of people. Or when I'm in a small group of people. Or when I'm just with one other person.

So, basically all the time.

It has to do with me completely embarrassing myself - on purpose.

See, I have this tendency to self-deprecate. To a ridiculous degree. Like, I will willingly announce the worst parts about myself, leaving my audience slightly confused and probably disgusted.

Example. I'm chit chatting with two women I don't know very well the other day. I'm slightly in awe of both of them. They're pretty awesome ladies. One comments that "wow, you look good for having a one month old!"

And I immediately turn up the side of my shirt so they can see that I can't close the zipper on my skirt underneath.

Explain this to me.

Do I do it for a laugh? Maybe a little. Do I do it so they'll like me? Well, frankly it's not a particularly good social tactic. Do I do it so they don't think too well of me? ... yeah, I think so.

It's like whenever anyone thinks even luke warm thoughts about me, I make it my personal duty to destroy them. To let them know that no, really, I'm not that great of a person.

Confession. I actually like myself pretty okay. No. No. Be honest. All right - I like myself a lot. I don't like everything about the person I see in the mirror, but all in all, I think I'm a pretty darn good person. I just don't want anyone to know. (Besides, of course, the tens of people who read this blog.)

And truly, I run myself pretty down on this 'ere blog, too. I post humiliating pictures, tell embarrassing poop stories, lament about my ugly cold sores and share too much information about my sweating/social event issues. I regale you all with how my neighbors thought I was abusing my child, and came clean that parenting can be pretty darn hard. I hash out all my insecurities, desperately making myself look pretty desperate.

Which brings us to my final conclusion in my self-psycho-analysis: I think I self-deprecate to test acceptance.

Do we all do this? Feel the need to make people really know us - and hope they don't leave? Do we all have a compulsion to be truly known - deep down - for who we really are, despite our dark sides? A sort of "I'm not perfect, but will you like me any way?" masochistic method?


Or maybe I just do it for the laughs.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Daydream Believer and a Homecoming Yeah Right

I quite often have a vacant look on my face. I have one on my face right now.

While some may attribute my vapidity (great word) to a below average intelligence quotient - or plain ole rudeness - I'm usually just daydreaming.

In my youth I fantasized about old age. Like, you know, THIRTY. I wondered what my future husband would look like. I named our future children. (Two out of four were named decades ago.) My favorite image - conjured up whenever math got especially boring - was of our family: Mr. and Mrs. Who Knows at the park, taking turns pushing our children on the swings, kicking up sand, holding hands and having a marvelous time.

That youthful daydream is now very much a reality.

I remember when we first took Little Prince to the park. I actually cried. Because I'm essentially an emotional bag of sentimentality. It was my fantasy come to life - only better.

Yet as I creep into seniority (I'll be 29 in June - totally ancient, I know), my daydreams have grown up, too.

I especially like to daydream when I'm exercising. As I pound the pavement every morning at 6:15 (or 6:20 ... or 6:30 ...), I let my mind wander.

I have just been awarded Mother of the Year. My tearful children stand by my side, presenting me with a bouquet and smothering me with kisses. An audience leaps to their feat, applause deafening, in awe of the years of selfless devotion I have given.

I write a book. Everyone loves it. I may write more.

I am discovered by some green movie director, cast in a low budget indie film that blows the world over, and become richandfamous. My Man is, of course, co-starring with me cuz there's no way I could kiss anyone else. And obviously there will be kissing involved.

Women flock to me, begging for the secret to my amazing beauty, organization, fabulous children and all-around awesomeness. I dispense of my wisdom graciously.

I am in fantastic shape - toned arms and legs, flat belly, tight everythingelse. I actually look good in clothes.

I never tire of these silly pipe dreams of mine. And they come in quite handy during long car trips and waiting at the doctor's office.

But truth be told, I'm quite content with the dream I have on hand already.

***So tell me - what do you daydream about?***

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

In which I make a bid for normalcy

I have four kids.

And while this is somewhat shocking to me, I still don't get why this is so fascinating to other people.

I began to appreciate the Wow Factor just recently. It was especially apparent when we took a family outing to the Renaissance Festival. We went just the week before NBC was born, and I was - um - EXTREMELY pregnant.

Still, I didn't think I was all that interesting. At least - not interesting enough to merit shouts from afar like

"Dude, whatever you're drinking, I don't want any!"
"Don't you know when to stop?!"
"I don't envy you at all!"
"Don't you know what causes that?"
"Can't believe you risked it again!"

(Although, to be fair, there were copious amounts of ale around.)

Yet despite the general state of inebriation, I found it strange that perfect strangers were suddenly intensely interested in our methods of birth control. Or lack thereof. (Ahem.)

I just don't think of myself as having a large family. Or having children particularly close together. For me, we are the epitome of normalcy. I mean, doesn't everyone define "normal" as however they are? I'm quite sure that you - sitting there at your desk, reading this blog, yeah, you - think you're normal. Whether you have two kids or eight kids or no kids. (Unless you have like fifteen. Sorry. That's not normal, no matter what you think.)

My kids are what I breathe, day in and day out. It's like someone shouting out bawdry comments about the fact that I have two eyes. Really? I look at them every day. Didn't realize it. Thanks for pointing that out.

Same goes double on the issue of whether or not we're going to "go" for a girl.

Why does EVERYONE ask me this?

Lately I've begun to tell people that I'm just waiting for an angel to appear to tell us what to do. Because I honestly don't know. Do I want a daughter? Yes. Of course I do. Elder Ballard's talk pretty much killed me. (And if we don't end up with a sweet little princess to coo over and coddle, then it will be an extremely sensitive subject that I do not wish to discuss with the checkout lady at the grocery store.)

On the flip side, why is it that people assume I'm disappointed with my boys?Because I'm so, totally, NOT. I wouldn't trade a single one of my blue bundles for a pink one.

(When some dumbonthestreet person asks me if I'm sad that I have four boys, I love responding "Of course not! Couldn't be happier with my little men." Nothing kills criticism like happiness.)

Not quite sure where I'm going with this. Just that I'm buggered about the whole thing. And buggering makes for good blogging. (Or so I tell myself.)

So instead of ending with some astounding philosophical conclusion, I'll just post a few more pictures from the Renaissance Festival. Because despite me waddling around with three wee ones in tow, we still had a ball.

Now that's normal.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A shallow look at the inconceivable deepness that is Me

This has been sitting on top of the doorway in my bathroom for about eight months:

A closer look:

Why is it sitting up there? Simple. I put it there. I was keeping it from eager little boy hands, who love nothing more than to suck on them for two seconds and then HOLD THEM with a very tight grip - all the while getting The Stickies on everything within a three mile radius. They were my Specials (the only thing that got rid of first-trimester Yucky Mouth), and I didn't feel like sharing.

They have not moved since I put them there.

I have not eaten a single one since I put them there.

I have not forgotten that I put them there.

They are, simply, There.

I should probably do something about it.


But mostlyprobably NOT.

(Eight months and counting ....)